Types of Home Heating Systems

Which one is best?

author image-chloe
By Chloe Dickenson
Updated on Wednesday 13 January 2021

A woman with her feet resting on the radiator

Are you on the lookout for the best heating systems for your home, but you’re not sure which central heating systems are best suited to you?

Fear not, as we’ve got you covered in our home heating guide; a fully comprehensive guide to the best heating system for your home, plus some insights into the best alternative heating methods for homes as well.

Types of heating systems UK

How you choose to keep your home warm is an important decision to make; not only do you want to choose a house heating system that ensures your home is kept nice and warm, you also want to ensure that your home heating system is affordable, too.

One of the most common and cheapest forms of heating in the UK is gas central heating.

Alternatives to gas central heating, especially if your home is considered to be a bit more “off-grid”, include LPG central heating, oil and electric heating solutions.

Whether you’re looking for renewable heating methods, heating options for homes without gas or the best heating system for a new build, there’s an option to suit your needs, wants and budget.

Gas central heating

As we mentioned above, gas central heating is one of the cheapest and most common heating systems in the UK.

Your home must be connected to the National Grid Gas Transmission in order for you to use this method of heating your home, and as long as you opt for an energy-efficient boiler, you can enjoy the cosiness of your home thanks to a gas central heating system.

Learn more: The Free Boiler Replacement Grant Explained

LPG central heating

If your home isn’t on the main gas grid and you live in a more remote area of the country, then you likely won’t be able to use a gas central heating system.

A popular alternative is to use LPG (liquid petroleum gas) central heating which must be delivered to your home by an LPG company and then stored safely and securely at your home.

It’s usually delivered by a huge tanker and then must be stored safely in a tank in your garden.

LPG is typically quite a bit more expensive than mains gas central heating, but it’s not quite as expensive as electric systems.

Oil central heating

Another method of heating your home if you’re not connected to the main gas grid is to use oil central heating; a heating system that’s most commonly used in homes in Northern Ireland.

Similarly to the LPG system, the heating oil must be delivered to your home and stored safely in a tank. It works by heating water via an oil-fired boiler, which then circulates hot water around your home and central heating to your radiators.

Biomass heating systems

Biomass heating systems are considered to be a little more old-fashioned than some of the other home heating systems featured in this guide, but they’re still pretty popular in some homes in the UK.

They work by burning materials such as logs and wood which in turn heat your water and your home.

Wood-burning stoves are more common in living rooms, just to heat that room, but they can also be a good way of providing heat and water to the rest of your house, too.

Renewable heat

Renewable heating systems involve you generating your own energy in order to heat your home and provide hot water throughout your house.

There are several types of renewable heat sources that you can use to heat your home, such as:

  • Solar water heating systems

  • Heat pumps

  • Biomass boilers

You can also use things like wind turbines and solar panels in order to generate your own electricity and heat. While it’s more common to use them for electricity rather than heat and hot water, it is still possible to do so.

The initial cost of these appliances is usually pretty expensive, but after that, you’ve got your own source of renewable energy.

Using renewable ways of heating your home not only means that you’re helping to save the planet by reducing the use of fossil fuels to heat your home, but it can also help you to save money as you’re not paying a gas or electric company to heat your home, for example.

Electric central heating

Electric central heating systems can work in different ways. You can simply buy electric heaters (like radiators) that can be plugged into sockets around your house to provide heat or you can entirely replace your gas-powered boiler with an electric one that will provide heat and water to your home.

While electric heating systems are typically considered to be more energy-efficient than gas-powered for example, they can also be a little more expensive to run.

In terms of their advantages, it’s really up to you to decide what’s more important; efficiency or saving money?

Immersion heaters

Immersion heaters are just another type of electric heating system. They’re also often referred to as unvented hot water systems or megaflow boilers and they work by heating the water in your home.

One of the biggest advantages of immersion heaters is that even if your boiler fails, you should still be able to generate hot water as they work by heating the elements found in water cylinders in order to heat water; think of them almost like a kettle.

Storage heaters

Storage heaters are another form of electric heating but instead of heating the water in your home, they provide the heat to keep your home nice and warm in the winter.

Storage heaters store and use thermal energy that heats up internal ceramic bricks overnight and then releases the heat that they generated throughout the day to keep your house warm.

These types of heating systems are usually used by people who are on a time-of-use electricity tariff such as Economy 7 or Economy 10. They pay a cheaper rate for energy overnight, which means they can benefit from using a storage heater as it enables them to use “off-peak” electricity throughout the night.

For more advice and information regarding how to save money on your gas and electricicty bills, take a look at our useful guides below.

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